You Can Run – But You Can’t Hide
July 20, 2014
Have you ever had one of those times when it seemed that everything is going against you, that no one cares for you, that you are desperate and alone – but suddenly in the midst of that desperation and loneliness something happens and somehow you experience God in a new way, in such a way that it becomes clear to you that God is with you and suddenly you no longer feel so alone but feel a part of a community that includes none other than God, God’s self?
Ever had an experience like that?
Many of us can tell stories of times God has come to us and shown us His presence and His love, His care, just when it may have seemed to us that no one cared.
If Jacob could be here he would certainly have a story to tell
He could tell us a story of loneliness. A story desperation. A story of feeling that no one cared. But in the midst of the loneliness and desperation his would be a story of how God came to him. His would be a story of God’s love, God’s care and God’s promise, just when he needed it the most.
In our passage for today Jacob is a fugitive. He is a loner. He has just cheated Esau out of his birthright by tricking his father Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau and now Esau is wanting to kill him. He is running for his life. I’m sure he feels alone and scared. He must feel desperate. He may have felt that there was no one to care for him, and that especially God didn’t care for him.
How could God care for a person such as he had turned out to be? Sure, he had received the blessing from Isaac, but – was it true? Would God really bless him? After all that he has done? Indeed, as he traveled toward Haran, we can imagine that he felt alone, uncared for, guilty and desperate.
But he couldn’t run 24 hours a day, could he? Ne, he must stop and rest at night. One night he stopped at a place and rested his head upon one of the rocks, but his sleep was interrupted. In his loneliness, his desperation, his running away from Esau and all he knows, there was God. God came to him. He dreamed of a ladder connecting heaven and earth. He was not alone. His world was not simply a place of loneliness and despair, but it was also a place of God, a place of God’s presence, a place of God’s promises. God made God’s self known to him. God renewed the promises he had made to Abraham. Jacob may have been able to run from Esau, but he was not able to hide from God’s love, God’s care, God’s promises, and God’s presence .He awakened from his dream and realized that God was there all along, he just had not realized it.
In his despair, his loneliness, He discovered that he was not alone at all. He discovered that he was not uncared for at all. He discovered that God had been with him all along, and he had not realized it. So now he moved on in his life with a new perspective, the perspective that God was with him caring for him, loving him, renewing promises with him – at all times of his life.
He realized that he could run, but he couldn’t hide from God.
He learned a truth that night – when it comes to God –
you can run – but you can’t hide.
How about you?
How have you experienced God’s love and grace, God’s presence in the midst of loneliness and despair? How have you experienced God’s presence, especially at the very time you did not realize it?
Maybe it was in the midst of grief over a friend or loved one who died. Maybe it was in the midst of despair and guilt over something you did or something you felt should have done but didn’t. Maybe it was in the midst of a debilitating illness, whether yours or someone you love. Or maybe it was one of those times when it seems everyone is against you. But – in the midst of that grief – or that despair, or that guilt, or that illness, or that loneliness, God in some way made Himself known to you and let you know that you are loved and cared for, that there is no place or no condition that is separated from His love, letting you know that you can run but you can’t hide -from His love.
When it comes to God and God’s love for you, you can run, but you can’t hide.
It doesn’t matter how deep your pain is. It doesn’t matter how desperate or how alone you feel. You are not removed from God’s love and care.
There seemed to be no way God would care for Jacob. He was a lonely, guilty fugitive. God doesn’t love folk like Him, does He?
Yes He does!
God still loved him, still called him, still cared for him, and still made promises to him. God was still with him.
Wherever he went, whatever he did, whatever happened, God was with him.
Indeed – he could run but he couldn’t hide from God’s love, and neither can you – and neither can I. You can’t hide from God’s love, God’s care, and God’s presence. God is always there loving you and caring for you.
It’s important to remember just how guilty Jacob was. He had done wrong. He had cheated his brother and lied to his dying father. And yet – God was still with him. We may be able to understand God’s love and care when things happen to us that we are not responsible for such as death or illness. At the times we have done nothing to deserve the desperate feelings and loneliness it may be easy for us to understand and experience God. But what about those times when we deserve to feel desperate and guilty? What about those times when our actions have brought us to our lonely and desperate place?
Does God still care then? Does God still love us? Yes. Regardless of how far away we may have wandered from being God’s people, God cares. Regardless of what we may have done, how guilty we may feel, how much we may want to run and hide from God, regardless of how far down that road we may have gone, we can run, but we can’t hide from the love of God.
God is there. God still loves you. God still cares for you. God still saves you.
A friend once gave me a wise saying they got a great deal of peace and reassurance from. They suggested to me that I look at it every time I feel alone and unloved — regardless of why. The saying is anonymous, but wise and true. The slip of paper I was given with the saying on it is now tattered. I have pulled it out and looked at it, and taken comfort from it, more times than I can count. Here’s the saying;
“These feelings — strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself.
The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am a chosen child of God — precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace.”
Regardless of how Jacob felt, the truth was that he was still loved by God. Regardless of how you may feel at times, the truth is that you are still loved by God. When you feel alone, desperate, that no one cares, I may not know why you feel that way, — but God knows, and God wants you to know that He is with you!
If it is because of the death of a friend or loved one, God is with you! If it is because of guilt over things you have done or things you feel you should have done but didn’t, God is with you! If it is because of illness, whether yours or someone you love, God is with you! If you feel that everyone is against you, God is with you! God is with you, loving you, calling you, and is ready to make promises and keep promises to you. If the feelings of despair and loneliness are brought on by things you had nothing to do with, God is with you. If, like Jacob, the feelings are brought on by your actions, God is with you.
Jacob’s life was changed by his experience of God. He still made mistakes, but began trying to live in God’s ways. He experienced God’s loving presence in the midst of his despair, it made a difference in his life, and he quit trying to run from God but began living in God’s love and God’s ways. He saw that he could run, but he could not hide from God’s love.
Yea – you can run, but you can’t hide from the love of God.